Although they might look like it, chia seeds are not cocoa krispies or a new heirloom coffee bean. They are actually the seed of the flower “salvia hispanica” and a tastier alternative to flax and hemp.
One of the cool things about chia, which makes it unique versus other seeds, is its versatility. Chia seeds can be eaten whole when dry, ground into a baking powder, or added to liquid. When hydrated, they turn into a gel-like substance (making them great additive to drinks like agua frescas).
This varied physical profile allowed us to make our Cassava & Chia tortillas the ultimate “free-from” product: grain, nut, GMO, and dairy-free and completely vegan and paleo.
Chia seeds are remarkably nutrient-dense compared to their size. They’re high in fiber, protein, calcium, phosphorous, and zinc. But where they really shine is in their fatty acid content. Incredibly high in Omega-3 fatty acids, chia’s fat content is 73% polyunsaturated.
For every 28 grams (1 oz.) of chia that you eat, you receive 4.9 grams of Omega-3 fatty acids! The only comparably rich foods in the world are salmon and flax.
Omega-3s carry a wealth of benefits. They have been clinically proven to improve cell membrane function and reduce the risk for heart-related diseases and mood disorders like depression1. Perhaps their greatest benefit, though, is the role they play in preventing inflammation throughout the body. Chronic inflammation is the effect and/or cause of many diseases like cancer, arthritis, and auto-immune conditions. Indeed, recent cancer research indicates that inflammation and stress in the body are related to DNA damage that produces cancerous conditions in the body2. Eating chia and other foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids (and specifically DHA) has been clinically linked to the prevention of inflammation-related conditions and the improved management of existing ones1.
Given the above, chia is a food that we’ve been looking to incorporate in our products for a while. When the opportunity to make our Cassava & Chia tortillas came around, we knew that it’d be an addition that the Siete community would love. Whether you’re a paleo, foodie, celiac, vegan, health-nut, or just love tortillas, bringing chia into the mix gave us the opportunity to make a universally consumable––and shareable––tortilla.
- Ruxton, 2004. Health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids. Nursing Standard.
- Tili, 2011 Mutator activity induced by microRNA-155 (miR-155) links inflammation and cancer. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
- Yum, 2016. Anti-inflammatory effects of docosahexaenoic acid: Implications for its cancer chemopreventive potential. Seminars in Cancer Biology.